Thirty minutes into his first day as a bank teller, as Daniel Peek helped his first customer, the front doors flew open and in ran a masked man.
“It looked like he was holding a camera at first, but then I realized it was a gun covered up with a bag,” the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith junior criminal justice major said.
When the armed man pushed Peek’s customer up against the wall, Peek realized it was not a drill. It was a robbery. The man ran to the counter and pulled up his white ski mask, revealing his face to Peek and the security cameras.
“Give me $5,000 in one dollar bills,” the man yelled at Peek.
Peek grabbed all of the moneyin his drawer, including some bait money, which can be traced in the event of a robbery, and put it in a burlap sack. Though it didn’t have $5,000 in one dollar bills, Peek handed the bag to the man, who ran out the front door and around to the back of the building, disappearing into an alley.
“It took a while for me to believe what had just happened,” Peek said. “It all happened in about four minutes.”
A customer in the bank’s drive thru saw the robbery and called police. Police arrested the man within 45 minutes and Peek identified the suspect.
Peek remained at the bank for the rest of the summer.
“I would still get slightly nervous when people walked through doors,” said Peek, “especially if they resembled the robber.”
Peek said his bank training helped him during the situation.
“I was told to do what the robber says and not to stop it,” said Peek. “It could put me and the customer in danger.”
Now working in the university’s advising office, Peek continues to work towards a degree in criminal justice, and said that after the robbery he felt it was a sign, affirming that he was in the right field.
“I was able to observe how the police handled the situation, while also experiencing the other side, as the victim,” said Peek. “This will allow me relate to victims in the future.”
Peek transferred to UAFS, from Arkansas Tech University, the second semester of his freshman year, thinking he would take a few classes before transferring elsewhere. But once he stepped onto the campus, his plans changed.
“I love the way the campus looks,” Peek said.
He also felt impressed with the classes and how he could approach the professors. He got involved on campus and met new people, and that was when he realized that UAFS was the place for him. He is involved in: Sigma Nu fraternity, Student Ambassadors, Baptist Collegiate Ministry and Grand College Ministry.
Peek also recently joined the university’s first Fishing Club. He is the media communication director for the club, which competes in bass fishing tournaments all across Arkansas. The club placed 30th out of 86 at its first tournament in September. Peek says that, because the club is new, there are only a few members but he hopes that they continue to grow and improve.
“Getting involved on campus is what made me love UAFS,” said Peek, “I would advise any student to do so too.”